reflecting on yesterday’s activities, the only thing that came to mind was a song from moulin rouge- the can can can can can can can! crazy how one song can remind you of a soundtrack which reminds you of friends and experiences and memories about life as it once was. kind of like food, music definitely triggers the nostalgia flow in me.
yesterday was tomato canning day no. 2.
while i’ve canned once this season, with dear friends janelle and heather, i have been having these dreams lately. dreams about not getting enough tomatoes canned for winter, nightmares really… life has been very hectic between work and, well, life and this creeping dread kept washing over me that fall and frost would be here and i would have no tomatoes in my pantry. after last year’s canning experience (i learned from friend and master canner molly mccullagh), and the cheery, ruby jars of summer for winter soups and sauces and stews, i’ve literally lost sleep over the thought of a winter tomato can-less. YIKES!
so i took an hour off work to by a 1/2 bushel from the wayne state farmer’s market. i dropped the ripe globes off at my house, transferring them to trays to give them the breathing room their plastic bag forbid. and, after a good eleven hour day, i was greeted by these glorious orbs, ready for their hot-water bath, a good… eh… exfoliation we’ll call it, and a new home.
currently, i am camera-less, and so all these pictures come from “photo booth” on my computer (hence the weird flash/reflection on the jars), so i have no pictures of the toms pre-process.
i spent the rest of my evening skinning, stuffing, cleaning, smushing, wiping, boiling, loving, singing & dancing, and praying… it took a good 3 hours. the result? 13 b-e-a-utiful jars of red delight. the recipe i used follows, taken from janet chadwick’s the busy person’s guide to preserving food.

canning raw-packed whole tomatoes
tomatoes
jars
lids (new, so they seal)
rings (hold the lids until the goods are sealed)
a canning pot (with basket that holds the jars of delish off of the bottom of the pot, so that steam and heat and hot water warms the jars, not the burner itself)
bowl with ice water
a small pot with water slightly simmering, but not boiling (for lids, if water is boiling, the seal may not set)
lemon juice (citric acid)
1. wash the jars and lids and rings in hot, soapy h2o. put jars in a low-temperature oven, for sterilization and so that the glass does not crack upon transfer to water bath.
2. begin heating water in a small pot (for lids and rings) and boiling water bath canner. wash tomatoes. i cut an X at the bottom for easier peeling. drop tomatoes into boiling water, a few at a time. scald for 30 seconds, transfer to cold water in bowl with a slotted spoon. from here, lift tomatoes and peel and core.
3. add citric acid (1/4 teaspoon per pint, 1/2 teaspoon per quart) or lemon juice (1 T per pint, 2 T per quart) to each hot jar. pack tomatoes in tightly, leaving 1/2 in head space. add boiling water or leftover tomato juice in necessary to leave 1/2 in head space (i use juice from the tomatoes). add salt (1/2 teaspoon per pint, 1 teaspoon per quart– i did not do this), if desired.
4. wipe lip of jars clean, place on lid and ring, and once all are ready (my canning pot takes 7 jars), load canner and process, 40 min for pints, 45 for quarts.
5. let jars cool 24 hours, check to make sure sealed (take off ring, flip upside down, make sure the lid doesn’t pop out), label and store
6. feel the lovely sweep of relief when you realize you have fresh, (hopefully) local tomatoes for your dining pleasure happily preserved in little jars!

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